Southerly by David Haywood


By Popular Demand: Another Night to Remember with Alan Bollard

So I'm sitting on the front steps of my house having a beer with Alan Bollard and his mate Darfield Charlie.

And Bollard is going: "Look, it couldn't be simpler. We're all having a nice barbie. Charlie is cutting a bit of meat. The knife slips, and -- whoops-a-daisy -- off comes one of his fingers. The finger falls in the barbie, and up it goes in flames. Everyone's happy."

And Darfield Charlie goes: "Accidents happen all the time, mate. Who's to say my finger wouldn't have got cut off anyway -- sooner or later?"

Of course, I remember what happened the last time I got involved in one of Bollard's schemes, and so I'm like: "Well, why can't Charlie cut off his finger at his own house?"

Bollard stares at me like I'm stupid. "Charlie's pregnant girlfriend is a born-again Christian, you dick. She's not going to let us rip off the ACC at her house."

Then Bollard goes into this long explanation about how accidents are part of Gross Domestic Product, and how Darfield Charlie should be encouraged to contribute to economic activity. And then he's like: "Look, don't be such a pussy!"

I hate it when Bollard calls me a pussy. So we fire up the barbeque, and I get the knife from the kitchen.

Five minutes later, and Bollard's shouting at me: "For fuck's sake, why don't you sharpen your knives?" And I'm like: "Because they might cut someone, dude." Darfield Charlie is groaning with pain -- and Bollard still hasn't managed to chop off any of his fingers.

So then Bollard goes: "Okay, change of scenario. What if Charlie has an accident when he's cutting firewood for the barbie?"

I get my axe out of the garage, and Bollard doesn't waste any time. The next thing blood is spraying all over the place -- and Darfield Charlie is running crazily around my backyard and shrieking like a steam-whistle.

I'm wondering if we'll be able to catch him, but after a few circuits around the lawn he falls to the ground and has convulsions. So we pick him up, and lug him down the driveway to Bollard's ute.

Of course with Bollard at the wheel there's no way I'm getting into the back. So I offer to drive, but Bollard goes: "Fuck you, it's my ute." And then I'm like: "Well I'm not coming if I have to sit on the tray." And Bollard goes: "So how am I supposed to get him out at the other end?" And I'm like: "That's your problem, dude."

And then Darfield Charlie starts moaning: "I'll ride in the back." So we tip him over the side of the ute, and he lies on the bottom of the tray and bleeds over everything.

We get in the ute and Bollard floors the accelerator. Everything's going fine until we're on Woodham road. Then we see a police car coming from the other direction, and of course Bollard can't resist giving them the fingers.

I just have time to go: "Bloody hell, Bollard, don't be such a marnus." And then the cop does a U-turn, and flicks his siren and lights.

So we pull over, and Bollard is like: "I'll handle this." And when the cop comes up to his window, he goes: "Hello officer, I was just pointing at those two ducks perching in the tree. I hope you didn't misinterpret my gesture."

And the cop asks: "Who's the guy bleeding in the back of your ute?"

Two minutes later we're getting a police escort to the hospital. We go down Kilmore street like a bullet. I can hear Darfield Charlie's head hitting the tray as we go over the judder bars into the hospital parking lot.

Bollard drives the ute right into the ambulance bay. I'm like: "Dude, should you be parking here?" And Bollard goes: "If the hospital can't handle where I park then fuck them."

We open up the tail-gate of the ute, and Darfield Charlie is lying there all white and drowsy because I guess he's got hardly any blood left. So we drag him through the doors to the Accident and Emergency department. Bollard goes up to the counter, and he's like: "Excuse me, I'm a doctor and Darfield Charlie needs urgent medical attention."

The whole waiting room goes very quiet at this, and then someone asks: "Hey, aren't you the stupid dick who keeps putting up our mortgage rates?"

Bollard turns around, and I can tell he's a bit pissed off. But he keeps his cool, and he goes: "Who wants to know?"

And someone points to this nervous-looking guy with his arm in a sling, and so Bollard grabs a crutch from a kid with a broken leg, and he's like: "You're the dick, you... dick." And he whacks the nervous-looking guy on his bandaged arm and knocks him over.

The next thing the whole waiting room has erupted in a huge brawl. The mother of the kid with the broken leg is trying to strangle Bollard. Bollard is trying to beat the nervous-looking guy to a pulp with the crutch. And a couple of patients have taken advantage of the confusion and are giving one of the registrars a good thumping. I can see that no good will come of this -- so I leg it out the door and catch the bus home.

Bollard gets out of jail the next week, and we go down to the pub to celebrate. But I can tell that something's bothering him. He's barely touching his beer, and finally he's like: "Dude, I don't know about human nature. That thing with Darfield Charlie couldn't have been a bigger success. It turns out that his wounds get infected, and they have to amputate his whole hand. Charlie's absolutely rapt! He's up for this massive compo payout -- enough for a holiday on the Gold Coast. He told me it was better than Christmas."

And I'm like: "Well, that's great, I guess..."

And Bollard goes: "But then Charlie's pregnant girlfriend visits him in hospital. And those born-again Christians, dude, they're so suspicious. She's full of questions: 'It was a gas barbeque, Charlie -- why were you chopping wood? Is there something you want to tell me? Don't you think it's important that we have honesty in our relationship? I want to know the whole story, Charlie. We can't build our relationship on lies.' And so in the end he comes clean with her."

And I'm like: "Dude, don't tell me that Darfield Charlie is back in prison."

And Bollard goes: "It turns out that the ACC offers a reward for dobbing in false claims. She says that God told her to do it."

And I'm like: "Dude, that like totally sucks."

David Haywood is willing to sell the exclusive rights to this true story to New Idea, Investigate Magazine, North & South, or similar publications.

   The above is an extract from David Haywood's very strange new book, 'The New Zealand Reserve Bank Annual 2010', due for release in November 2009.

His previous book 'My First Stabbing' is available here.

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